EL PASO, Texas — As COVID-19 cases and resultant hospitalizations continue to surge in the El Paso area, some of the measures put in place to combat the spread of the virus have been put on hold.
On Thursday, the Eighth Court of Appeals temporarily froze business closures and a nighttime curfew that had been mandated by El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The court ruled those orders can’t be enforced until a permanent decision is reached. It was anticipated the court would make a decision on Friday.
The ruling follows a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and El Paso restaurant owners which sought to strike down parts of Samaniego’s orders.
The lawsuit claims Samaniego’s orders conflict with those issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“I commend the 8th Court of Appeals for stopping El Paso Co. Judge Samaniego’s shutdown order – pending the final decision on the merits,” Paxton wrote in a tweet. “It is important that we do not shutdown [sic] the economy ever again, & this decision allows small businesses to continue to operate & pay employees.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week announced additional medical personnel and supplies are on the way to El Paso. It is anticipated that on Friday El Paso’s convention center, which is serving as an overflow medical facility, will expand bed capacity from 65 to 100. Last week, three U.S. Air Force Medical Specialty Teams were deployed to the area to assist hospitals.
Texas this week became the first U.S. state to surpass 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Between the first week of October and the first week of November, 725 people died of COVID-19 in El Paso County.